Saturday, February 7, 2009
Nova Juices the Cuse
Final Score: #16 Villanova 102, #20 Syracuse 85
Player of the Game: Dante Cunningham - 31 pts, 10 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk
Recap: Nova came out strong from the start, perhaps motivated by Johnny Flynn's pregame quotes, and were in control all of the game. Nova dropped 102 points, their second highest total of the season. Nova has now won five in a row, with a rematch against Marquette coming up next. At 7-3 (5th place) in conference, Villanova has put itself in a good position to challenge for one of the top four seeds in the Big East Tournament.
Restoring Balance to the ForceVillanova was firing on all cylinders and saw great balance from their top seven in both minutes and scoring. The only odd man out was Antonio Pena who fouled out in only 9 minutes.
Dante's InfernoDante Cunningham had one of his best games of the season, tying his career-high of 31 points. The ten rebounds gave him his eighth double-double of the season. He was automatic from the mid-range, going 12-15 from the field. He's undersized for the 4 in the NBA, but scouts have got to be taking a close look at him with these numbers he's putting up.
RejuvenationShane Clark is back! He had his best game of the season with 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was an absolute beast on the offensive glass, where he grabbed 6 of his rebounds. The loudest of those was a emphatic one-handed put-back slam. Shane's had games like this in the past, but for whatever reason (injuries, illness, unknown...) he has struggled at times during the past two seasons, causing members of the fanbase to turn against him. It's great to see him come out and have a game like this because with Nova's thin frontcourt, Shane Clark is a valuable player to the team.
The Coreys CornerBoth Coreys were great sparks off the bench. Fisher was unstoppable driving to the basket to score 14 points. More impressive were his 6 assists, which tie his season high. Stokes broke out of his mini-slump with 16 points. He hit three 3-pointers and got fouled on a couple more. He also had season highs in rebounds (9) and assists (3), which is great to see because sometimes he's too one dimensional with his shooting.
Road Warrior?Scottie Reynolds had a relatively quiet night, going 3-11 from the field, scoring 10 points and dishing 3 assists. He seems to have his best games on the road: all four of his 30+ point games have come on the road. In Big East play Scottie's averaging 10.2 at home, compared to 21.4 ppg on the road. Not sure what this means, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Dwayne Anderson and Reggie Redding took care of business. Anderson had an Anderson-like performance, full of blocks (1), steals (3), and rebounds (4). Redding chipped in 8 points, including his first 3-pointer in five games.
This was an all-around great effort, and in some ways a statement win, proving to the rest of the league that they are one of the elite teams.